Expert committee pours cold water on Telangana govt's hopes

Panel has no authority to allocate waters, state told.

Hyderabad: The Centre-appointed A.K. Bajaj Committee of irrigation and power experts that concluded its three-day visit to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday said it has no authority to allocate waters being diverted from Godavari to Krishna Basin by AP to TS.

The panel said that it was the job of tribunals constituted for the purpose. The assertion has come as a rude shock to TS, the state having pinned hopes on getting its share from the Godavari water being diverted to Krishna Basin since the matter is included in the terms of reference of the committee set up by the Union water resource ministry.

TS government adviser on irrigation R. Vidyasagar Rao termed the Bajaj Committee’s tour as “of no use” and said that it was “only an eyewash committee” set up only to tour and collect opinions of both the states.

He said the TS government will file a complaint with the Union water resources ministry for going back on its promise to consider sharing of waters diverted from by Godavari to Krishna Basin through Pattiseema and Polavaram projects.

In a joint meeting of engineering officials of both TS and AP at Jala Soudha here, chairman of the Experts Committee A.K. Bajaj made it clear to the state that it was not the panel’s job to allot any share of water to any state as such allocation was the exclusive domain of the tribunals constituted for the specific purpose.

When he was reminded by TS officials that the subject was included in the terms of reference, Mr Bajaj said that the fact remains that experts committee cannot go into making any allocations afresh.

However, he assured that committee will make observations on the TS demands in its report that will be submitted to the water resources ministry. At this stage, Mr Vidyasagar Rao pointed out that it was strange to find a sea change in the attitude of the committee after returning from Vijayawada.

Earlier, during its interaction with TS officials, the panel had conceded that the issue needed to be resolved at the earliest. Mr Vidyasagar Rao said that more than the Godavari water diversion issue, the panel appeared to be more interested in finding out the exact usage of Krishna waters under minor irrigation projects.

Meanwhile, the joint meeting of TS and AP officials failed to reach any consensus on inclusion of projects under Krishna River Management Board’s jurisdiction for preparing the operation manual.

While TS objected to AP’s demand of inclusion of Jurala project, AP officials objected strongly for inclusion of Pulichintala and Sunkesula dams under the Board’s purview as demanded by TS.

However, the Bajaj Committee, after hearing the arguments, may decide the operation protocol for all the dams across the Krishna and make recommendations.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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